Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II 1979 (2016_11_22 01_12_41 UTC)I have a mate in the audio electronics business who has a thing for old British limos. He has owned and restored Armstrong Siddeleys and Daimlers, he is very fond of Mark II Jags with manual transmissions, those sorts of things. A few years ago he called me to say he’d finally taken the inevitable step of folk of his ilk and bought a Rolls-Royce. It was a Silver Shadow from the late 1960s, and he’d paid $20,000 for it. A year later he bought another one, also for $20,000, to provide parts for the first one; the cheapest way, he said, to get spares for a Rolls.

A year after that he called me again to tell he’d been retrenched. “I was the only guy at the CES with two Rolls-Royces,” he said.

This is one of my two favourite Roller stories (the other one is about my spinning out a brand new Silver Sprit at Calder race track in Melbourne) and whenever I tell it, the people who aren’t up with collectible cars invariably assume a Silver Shadow, a readily recognisable Rolls with a still reasonably contemporary body, should surely be worth more than $20k. Actually they’re getting cheaper. Shannons auctioned a 1979 Shadow II this month for $16,000. At the same auction a 1981 Spirit fetched $15,000.

08 Rolls-Royce Silver SpiritThe Shadow was the first Rolls model in 50 years to turn a profit and production was high (for this company anyway) with 16,717 being built, along with a smaller number of Bentley T-Series variants, before the revised Shadow II was launched in 1976. Sales of that totalled 8425, and it is these high sales figures that explain why this particular Roller depreciates at a rate about on par with cars generally.

There are plenty around and the prices are usually pitched high, but negotiation will bring them down and hard negotiation will bring them down further. By all means let your heart govern your head, but do beware of running costs and parts prices lest you are forced to buy another.

In 1980 the Shadow was replaced by the Silver Spirit, which looks much the same, and that was replaced by the current Phantom, which does not. Even old Phantoms are bringing in prices well into six figures.

Posted March 2020.


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